Why did Bill Callahan fail at Nebraska?

Sep 26, 2020
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Just not the right fit for the program at that point in time. Sometimes people aren't right for a specific program, or for the position. Some guys are great coordinators, and are meant to be as such (Norm Chow comes to mind---great OC, not a good HC).
 

orclover

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He seems like a really good coach. Personality fit?
Keep in mind that 2007 was predictable. We had a huge gap in recruiting because the 2005 class had a ton of jucos...and the 2003 and 2004 classes were god awful...some of the worst in history and that was the main reason Frankie was fired. We played 7 top 20 offenses that year...in comparison there were years when Bo only played 1 top 20 offense while playing in the big 10, and that game was normally a blowout where we gave up 50 or 60. Even in 2008 with Bo we gave up 50 points regularly when facing really good offenses. Also keep in mind that Missouri, Kansas, USC were all top 5 teams...and ball state was nearly undefeated. Our soft games were away games against Texas, and home games against Okie state..games we would have lost under Bo as well. It was a perfect storm of a killer schedule, a terrible group of upperclassman, and ridiculous expectations...we ranked 12th at one point. People didn't realize that Kansas, and Missouri were so good until the end of the season and by that time we had already decided to fire Bill. Bill Callahan was unsustainable in the long run because any failure would have brought up cultural differences between the fans and the coach...and this is the reason we fire Riley and Cally quickly but Frost and Bo will make 25-30 million to lose all the same.
 

Husker Sledge

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He was doomed when he hired good ole buddy Kevin Cosgrove. I can remember hearing about that and just shaking my head.
 

Crazyhole

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Why he was fired vs why he failed are 2 completely different questions. He failed because quite honestly he just isn't a good head coach. He was fired for a ton of reasons, most of which are basically the same reasons Pelini was fired.
 
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Husker_AMG63

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Keep in mind that 2007 was predictable. We had a huge gap in recruiting because the 2005 class had a ton of jucos...and the 2003 and 2004 classes were god awful...some of the worst in history and that was the main reason Frankie was fired. We played 7 top 20 offenses that year...in comparison there were years when Bo only played 1 top 20 offense while playing in the big 10, and that game was normally a blowout where we gave up 50 or 60. Even in 2008 with Bo we gave up 50 points regularly when facing really good offenses. Also keep in mind that Missouri, Kansas, USC were all top 5 teams...and ball state was nearly undefeated. Our soft games were away games against Texas, and home games against Okie state..games we would have lost under Bo as well. It was a perfect storm of a killer schedule, a terrible group of upperclassman, and ridiculous expectations...we ranked 12th at one point. People didn't realize that Kansas, and Missouri were so good until the end of the season and by that time we had already decided to fire Bill. Bill Callahan was unsustainable in the long run because any failure would have brought up cultural differences between the fans and the coach...and this is the reason we fire Riley and Cally quickly but Frost and Bo will make 25-30 million to lose all the same.
Except Bo gave up 50 points only once in 2008 and that was to real good Missouri team but continue the lies and revisionist history. Just like with Biden no one is fact checking and asking wtf....
 

Champs 70-71-94-95-97

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Callahan didn't want to coach. He assumed it would be like coaching NFL - just manage players. He didn't /couldn't develop players . That's where the fit was wrong. He took a team to the Super Bowl and in turn called them the dumbest team in America, or something like that . He's middle management material, nothing more
 
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Rick.Shaw

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He seems like a really good coach. Personality fit?
A variety of reasons. Personally I think he was the best coach from the coaching craft itself to recruiting...etc. that we had after TO and to Frost (who is still under observation). I agree if he had a more talented defensive coordinator he may have lasted a while. However, I do think he was a poor fit culturally to the way Nebraska had been successful for so long (running the ball, walkons) and for that reason he didn’t endear himself to fans.

it’s funny but I have a couple of friends that defend Pelini to the hilt. I don’t quite get it as I think Callahan has him beat in pretty much every important coaching characteristic. I think the Pelini apologist liked his “fire” and the way he’d tell people like Bill Snyder to go “f@&& themselves”. I didn’t like that. Different strokes.
 

Huskerz99

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I do miss Pelini telling others to screw off. I actually liked that. He stood up for his guys. Players like that. It became an issue when he said it to the fans or went too far with officials. You can’t tell everyone to eff off. Just certain coaches and people we don’t like.
 

Rick.Shaw

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I do miss Pelini telling others to screw off. I actually liked that. He stood up for his guys. Players like that. It became an issue when he said it to the fans or went too far with officials. You can’t tell everyone to eff off. Just certain coaches and people we don’t like.
He’s killing it LSU...setting records in a bad way....in his supposed zone as a DC. And I would bet you a dollar that he has more talent on his defensive roster than Neb. We will see.
 

bshirt73

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A variety of reasons. Personally I think he was the best coach from the coaching craft itself to recruiting...etc. that we had after TO and to Frost (who is still under observation). I agree if he had a more talented defensive coordinator he may have lasted a while. However, I do think he was a poor fit culturally to the way Nebraska had been successful for so long (running the ball, walkons) and for that reason he didn’t endear himself to fans.

it’s funny but I have a couple of friends that defend Pelini to the hilt. I don’t quite get it as I think Callahan has him beat in pretty much every important coaching characteristic. I think the Pelini apologist liked his “fire” and the way he’d tell people like Bill Snyder to go “f@&& themselves”. I didn’t like that. Different strokes.
Wow.....yeah right. I guess for you, winning games "isn't" an important coaching characteristic. 🤪

Pelini was NU's HC for seven years and won 9 or 10 games every year. Your hero Clownahan got NU's first losing seasons in 20 some years, had two losing seasons for his four years at NU. Also, with his claimed superb recruiting he had his worst results in his 4th & last year at NU.

However, he did know how to run up huge offensive stats & points during garbage time vs the opponents water-boys. How so many posters claim he was so great just amazes me.
 

Rick.Shaw

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Wow.....yeah right. I guess for you, winning games "isn't" an important coaching characteristic. 🤪

Pelini was NU's HC for seven years and won 9 or 10 games every year. Your hero Clownahan got NU's first losing seasons in 20 some years, had two losing seasons for his four years at NU. Also, with his claimed superb recruiting he had his worst results in his 4th & last year at NU.

However, he did know how to run up huge offensive stats & points during garbage time vs the opponents water-boys. How so many posters claim he was so great just amazes me.
Yes Pelini was incredible. No doubt about it. Ask the LSU Tigers. Coming off a 15-0 season and a NC. At least there are a lot of pundits that have called Cally the best or one of the best OL coaches in the NFL. Not sure I’ve heard “the best” ever tied to the Pelini name. Maybe the best coach ever at the creative usage of the ‘F’ word in sentences. Yah...I’d give him that at least.
 
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Huskerz99

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He’s killing it LSU...setting records in a bad way....in his supposed zone as a DC. And I would bet you a dollar that he has more talent on his defensive roster than Neb. We will see.
I miss some aspects of him. Not all.....
 

bshirt73

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Yes Pelini was incredible. No doubt about it. Ask the LSU Tigers. Coming off a 15-0 season and a NC. At least there are a lot of pundits that have called Cally the best or one of the best OL coaches in the NFL. Not sure I’ve heard “the best” ever tied to the Pelini name.
For results at NU, Pelini was indeed incredibly better than Clownahan. By a country mile......
 

orclover

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Wow.....yeah right. I guess for you, winning games "isn't" an important coaching characteristic. 🤪

Pelini was NU's HC for seven years and won 9 or 10 games every year. Your hero Clownahan got NU's first losing seasons in 20 some years, had two losing seasons for his four years at NU. Also, with his claimed superb recruiting he had his worst results in his 4th & last year at NU.

However, he did know how to run up huge offensive stats & points during garbage time vs the opponents water-boys. How so many posters claim he was so great just amazes me.
It isn't as simple as that. Bo won 10% of his games against top 25 competition, and lost by an average of 22 ppg in those losses. He benefited from playing in a dramatically weakened Big 10...one season he played unranked michigan, osu, and wisconsin and was still blown out when it mattered. Cally had one season where he played SEVEN top 25 teams...including 3 in the top 5. Bo was given the time to build a consistent program that could beat teams with more transition or less talent. Bo didn't have to transition offense and was given a ton of NFL talent on defense. I history will say they were both awful coaches...the gap in performance is contextual not substantial.
 
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Feb 5, 2003
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Callahan, Cosgrove and maybe Childress too had been together as young coaches at Illinois in the 80's for Mike White. Then Alvarez got them all together at Wisconsin when he got that job in 90. Dan MCarney was BA's original DC, then when he went Iowa St, Cosgrove took over the D. Callahan was a heck of an OL coach.

A very good friend, (whom I didn't know at the time) was a HS AA DL recruit in the 80's. Said he really liked Callahan, who like my friend, hailed from the south side of Chicago, and wanted him bad in Champaign. But said the overall staff at Illinois just seemed too shady. He signed with ND/Holtz after also visiting UM and Minnesota.
 

Huskerz99

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Agree. He rocked!
Bo won 66 games as Nebraska coach. Frost has to win an average of 11 games a year to catch Bo for wins. But only needs to win 1 conference championship in the next 5 years to surpass him. 1 National Title to join the ranks of Devaney and Osborne.
 

Rick.Shaw

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Bo won 66 games as Nebraska coach. Frost has to win an average of 11 games a year to catch Bo for wins. But only needs to win 1 conference championship in the next 5 years to surpass him. 1 National Title to join the ranks of Devaney and Osborne.
Where did he get the majority of his talent? Did he recruit Suh? Can’t remember.
 
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bshirt73

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It isn't as simple as that. Bo won 10% of his games against top 25 competition, and lost by an average of 22 ppg in those losses. He benefited from playing in a dramatically weakened Big 10...one season he played unranked michigan, osu, and wisconsin and was still blown out when it mattered. Cally had one season where he played SEVEN top 25 teams...including 3 in the top 5. Bo was given the time to build a consistent program that could beat teams with more transition or less talent. Bo didn't have to transition offense and was given a ton of NFL talent on defense. I history will say they were both awful coaches...the gap in performance is contextual not substantial.
Oh yeah, sure.......that's why Bo could never get even remotely close to racking up losing seasons. You betcha, that's why Clownahan's recruits saved Pelini for seven years. :rolleyes:
 
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Huskerz99

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Where did he get the majority of his talent? Did he recruit Suh? Can’t remember.
He kind of recruited Suh. Suh was planning on leaving because he stopped enjoying football because of Callahan I believe? So Pelini had to bring him back in. What if the fans said Suh didn’t fit our culture so let him go.
 

Rick.Shaw

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Oh yeah, sure.......that's why Bo could never get even remotely close to racking up losing seasons. You betcha, that's why Clownahan's recruits saved Pelini for seven years. :rolleyes:
Clownahan? I don’t ever remember Clownahan having to do a stint a Youngstown State recently. Pelini must have been in hot demand. Youngstown State? if I remember correctly, they almost beat Burt Reynold’s Prison team from The Longest Yard back in the mid 70s. Not too shabby. Maybe if Pelini continues to set dismal defensive records at LSU, we will see him at Nebraska Wesleyan in a year or two. That would be fun...him and his fam uniting with the Lincolnites who he said can could go “f@&$ themselves”. But people would have to forgive and forget. Pelini isn’t a rocket scientist after all. Sometimes people that aren’t
that...umm...bright...use f@&$. It’s there go to when they can’t come up with another word. Totally understandable.
 
Oct 31, 2017
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Your head
Totally agree that loyalty was Callahan’s undoing here. Ironic that Cosgrove was a D-Coordinator in the BIG-10. Once Callahan’s Offense got going we could score points but the Defense couldn’t stop anyone. If we had gone to BIG-10 earlier would Cosgrove had done better being familiar with the teams? Wasn’t he D-Coordinator under Alvarez? Would be interesting to see alternate timelines.
I think we would have been competitive in big 10 but gotten embarrassed in bowl games against the likes of OU, Florida, etc
 

Rick.Shaw

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He kind of recruited Suh. Suh was planning on leaving because he stopped enjoying football because of Callahan I believe? So Pelini had to bring him back in. What if the fans said Suh didn’t fit our culture so let him go.
Ah yah. Only reason a losing team got a sniff at Suh was John Blake. Who would have won that recruiting war on Pelini’s staff? Carl? Yah...I can see him beating Blake in that living room. Good call.
 

Huskerz99

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Ah yah. Only reason a losing team got a sniff at Suh was John Blake. Who would have won that recruiting war on Pelini’s staff? Carl? Yah...I can see him beating Blake in that living room. Good call.
Ah yah. Only reason a losing team got a sniff at Suh was John Blake. Who would have won that recruiting war on Pelini’s staff? Carl? Yah...I can see him beating Blake in that living room. Good call.
I mean someone from that staff had to recruit our best Defensive NFL player in the last 15 or so years.......Lavonte David. Suh had a better college career, but Lavonte David is killing it in the league.
 

oldjar07

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I've said this numerous times before on this board - if BC would have fired Cosgrove and hired a real DC he could still be coaching at Nebraska and we'd probably have another NC banner hanging-up.

BC was a really good coach and a great recruiter - he was way too loyal to his inadequate DC (which is the same fear I have for HCSF).
Lol there's no way in hell BC was winning a national title here. There were plenty of problems besides just the defense. He didn't understand the culture here and I think he was destined to fail. On the rare chance he would have had some success, he would have bolted to the NFL as soon as he could. It was a lose-lose situation for us to hire that clown.
 

oldjar07

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Because two losing seasons here should get your ass canned. Only reason I'm willing to give Frost more time is he won a national title here and I think he's an intelligent younger guy who can hopefully get things turned around. Anyone else with these results, and I'd pack their bags for them.
 
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spartanhusker

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Oh yeah, sure.......that's why Bo could never get even remotely close to racking up losing seasons. You betcha, that's why Clownahan's recruits saved Pelini for seven years. :rolleyes:
I've never understood a grown man(assuming you are)calling another grown man a name...especially when not there to defend himself. I feel sorry for you.
 

Baxter48

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Bo won 66 games as Nebraska coach. Frost has to win an average of 11 games a year to catch Bo for wins. But only needs to win 1 conference championship in the next 5 years to surpass him. 1 National Title to join the ranks of Devaney and Osborne.
Give frost the talent bo inherited and give bo the talent frost inherited bo would have been gone after year 1 because of his temper and other of his bad habits, you comparing Apples to oranges
 

spartanhusker

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But Frost said year 1 There is enough talent at Nebraska to win. Why do we keep moving the goal posts?
I like Scott, but would not consider myself an apologist...but would you NOT agree he has been somewhat snake bit? I'll give him more time...
 

HuskerO

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Except Bo gave up 50 points only once in 2008 and that was to real good Missouri team but continue the lies and revisionist history. Just like with Biden no one is fact checking and asking wtf....
Oklahoma scored 62.

Fact check fail? But I guess this could fall under "mostly false" as Bo *did* only give up 50 points once. The other time it was 60 points.